Actually, there isn’t really a correct or incorrect way to hold a dart. How your dart flies when you throw it depends a lot on your grip. If you are new, then it is advised to hold the dart the way that feels most natural to you. Although, this might not be the most optimal grip for your throw even if it feels natural. The best way to find out what works and what doesn’t is to test. Let’s discuss the basics first and then we will learn about some common ways to hold a dart.
How Your Hold A Dart And Throw is Effected by Your Grip
Let us first discuss the physics behind this sport before going into the particularities of proper aim and how a dart should be held. A dart follows a basic parabolic trajectory once it is thrown. A ballistic motion is described by a parabolic trajectory. What this means is that when a dart is thrown it will travel along a projectile trajectory that would be the same as that of a stone when it is thrown or a bullet when it is fired.
The initial impulse will determine the curvature of the parabola. A textbook parabola trajectory can be achieved if a dart was to be launched correctly. A dart begins to accelerate once it leaves your hand and its kinetic energy ensures that it travels towards the target in a controlled path. Although, the mathematic equations that are used to describe ballistic parabolas are very complex and take into account several factors, for us to better understand throwing we need to only concern ourselves with the practical matters.
A system consisting of a fixed point and two rotating joints controls the mechanics that lead up to the moment of a dart being launched. The fixed point is your shoulder and the two rotating joints are your wrist and elbow. This system is what allows the person throwing the dart to be able to accurately control its flight path.
In order to achieve an accurate throw, one needs to keep his body, especially his shoulder, in a fixed position and move the dart backward from the initial aiming position. Then the elbow needs to be raised slightly as the process of acceleration begins. Slightly raising your elbow elevates the dart into a ballistic parabola. On the other hand, keeping your elbow fixed during the launch will result in a loss in accuracy as you will be throwing too early into the parabola. More acceleration can be provided with a flick of the wrist at the last moment which results in more kinetic energy being produced. This extra kinetic energy can help the dart follow the desired trajectory in a more controlled and accurate way.
Proper Dart Aim & Grip
We can draw some essential conclusions regarding proper aim from the physical mechanics of dart throwing. Your eye, dart, and target should be in alignment for the best aim possible. It is also important that the movement of your hand and your arm be in a fixed plane.
There are different techniques used by players such as lining the tip of the dart with the target or lining two or three knuckles with the target to hold a dart. You should choose whatever technique works best for you and you should use that technique persistently. Following this method should help you throw with more accuracy and consistency.
A lot of people underestimate the importance of a good grip. If you want to improve your throwing accuracy your grip is the most important technique you should master. A good grip allows you to have more control over your dart’s trajectory on its way to the target. It is important that your dart’s tip be pointing up into the ballistic parabola.
Your grip should be firm and stable but also relaxed so that there isn’t any excessive stress or tension on the muscles of your wrist and fingers while you hold a dart. If there is too much stress and tension in the muscles, it can result in the dart being released too late into the parabola during the throw. This can result in reduced accuracy. It must be noted that a good grip is not about strength but it is about technique. There are many methods that are used with each having its own pros and cons.
By increasing the number of fingers you use you can increase the control you have over the dart’s trajectory. But it also means that more points of contact require more coordination at the time of release. You will need to find the sweet spot that works best for you. Factors such as knurls, grooves, barrel length, and weight should also be taken into account when deciding on what method to use.
Anatomy of a Dart
A dart consists of four parts which are as follows:
Tip: A tip of a dart is made of hard metal or soft plastic and can be of different lengths. A dart’s tip can be of different types depending on the material the dartboard is made of.
Barrel: The body of the dart is called the barrel. The barrel connects the tip of a dart to its shaft and can be made of different materials each with its own pros and cons. Barrels with different cut patterns and different weights are available on the market. The barrel is the most important part of a dart when it comes to establishing a good grip as it is the part you hold a dart in your fingers when throwing. The type of cut pattern is also a factor that should be taken into account when choosing which barrel type to use as your technique will be significantly affected by it.
Shaft: The shaft affects the stability of the dart as well as its capability of maintaining a constant projectile parabola. Shafts come in many different lengths, styles, and materials. A longer shaft can reduce crowding and a spinning shaft allows for tighter grouping and helps against darts bouncing off each other. Many options are available that change different variables of dart throwing.
Flight: The basic function of a flight is to reduce drag and provide stability to hold a dart. This allows the dart to sustain more energy during flight. Flights also come in many types with different types satisfying different preferences of players.
How to Improve Your Dart Grip
Now that we know the anatomy of a dart and how different factors of dart construction affect your aim and grip we can continue on to some tips that can help you improve your dart grip.
- Try to get a feel for the center of gravity of your dart. This factor will be a focal point as well as a point of reference for your technique.
- Your grip should be relaxed because if your grip is too firm it will result in excessive tension during the throw. This excessive tension can result in a loss of accuracy.
- Keep the fingers that are not being utilized for the grip clear of the dart and keep them relaxed.
- Ensure that you hold the tip of the dart high at all times as a tip pointed downward will cause a loss of accuracy.
The grip style you should use depends on personal preferences although some mechanical considerations should be made. Now, let us discuss some basic dart grips.
Four points of contact: Four points of contact is quite a popular and basic style. As the name suggests there are four pints of contacts in this style allowing one to have the most control over the dart’s target placing and initial acceleration during the throw. In this style, one places the thumb beneath the dart for support while the ring, middle, and index fingers stabilize it from the top. In a five-point of contact variation, the pinky finger is also utilized for increased stability but it also requires even more coordination during a throw.
Three points of contact: Three points of contact is also a quite famous style. In this style, you hold a dart as you would hold a pen. Clasp the dart from the top using your index finger and middle finger while using the thumb to push up from the bottom. This style gives the dart more kinetic potential through wrist action but it comes at the cost of less control.
There are also more unorthodox techniques such as two points of contact style which only uses two fingers reducing control to a bare minimum. But all in all, what matters the most is your personal preference when choosing a style. Chose the grip that is most comfortable to you and works for you because as said before, there is not really a correct or incorrect way to hold a dart. And this point was proven even further when the Professional Darts Corporation World Championship was won by Rob Cross using one of the most unconventional styles ever seen.
Expert dart players understand that grip and aiming technique are key to accuracy in dart throwing and hold a dart properly. While there’s no universally correct way to hold a dart, finding a natural and effective grip is essential. A dart’s flight follows a parabolic trajectory influenced by the mechanics of the thrower’s shoulder, elbow, and wrist. Proper alignment of the eye, dart, and target, along with a stable yet relaxed grip, improves accuracy.
A dart comprises a tip, barrel, shaft, and flight, each affecting the dart’s trajectory and stability. Players should consider the dart’s center of gravity and avoid excessive tension in their grip for better control. Common grip styles include four points of contact for maximum control and three points of contact for increased kinetic potential.
Ultimately, the best grip or way to hold a dart is subjective and should be chosen based on personal comfort and effectiveness, as demonstrated by professionals like Rob Cross who have succeeded with unconventional styles. Experimentation and practice are encouraged to optimize grip and throwing technique.